zundel

Wednesday 330

Mbeki killed 365,000

Filed under: Science, Society — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm

Conspiracy theories kill. Science matters. Getting it right saves lives. Getting it wrong cost 365,000 lives, including 35,000 babies needlessly born with HIV.

Lesson learnt yet again in hindsight—too damn often. Treating Mbeki with ‘diplomacy’ may have allowed organizations to work with some South Africans that had HIV and AIDS. But at too high a cost. Mbeki’s bullshit needed fierce and persistent condemnation. Not to persuade him. But condemnation may have helped the voices of reason in South Africa and may have hastened Mbeki’s departure. The death toll becomes millions—from silence.

AIDS: a good example of why science policy matters” by Jonathan M Gitlin in Ars Technica 2008-11-26

This should serve as an abject lesson in why it’s vital for governments to receive effective science and health policy advice.

South Africa is well off compared to its regional neighbors—it had enough money for the former President, Thabo Mbeki, to splash out nearly $100 million on a new Boeing Business Jet. Mbeki claimed poverty when it came to providing his citizens with antiretroviral drugs, however.

A Johannesburg AIDS hospice in 2002 (Joao Silva for The New York Times)


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